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Bring together professionals – YPF event at the Cabinet War Rooms

Last week, Your Professional Forum (“YPF”) welcomed guests to the wonderful and unique Cabinet War Rooms where Winston Churchill orchestrated the UK’s part in the Allied victory over Adolf Hitler.

Will Dobbs


YPF is a networking group formed nearly ten years ago by Charles Stanley, among other city firms. The Group aims to provide informal networking opportunities and encourage new business opportunities for all.  Meetings are always at interesting venues and the Cabinet War Rooms didn’t disappoint with many guests enjoying exclusive access to the Museum with the audio tours available.

As I was looking round myself, I took a moment to put myself in Winston Churchill’s shoes; when bombs were falling around our capital city, thousands of people were dying at home and abroad, and rationing was enforced, it puts our current affairs and uncertainty in the global, political world into perspective. As Wealth Managers, it is our role to help our clients through these uncertain periods of time, providing comfort, security and opportunity. People may get concerned about Brexit, or Trump, or Trade Wars, but when you consider that Charles Stanley is a firm that has been in existence for over 220 years, you realise this is just one point in the relentless journey history takes us on. This does not mean we take our responsibility for granted, but we derive comfort knowing Charles Stanley’s history is entwined with world history. Former colleagues have steered our clients through the Napoleonic Wars, two World Wars, the Cold War, tech bubbles, financial crashes and much more. According to contemporary reports, even from Charles Stanley’s early days it was always managed “with the utmost prudence” and this is something true still today; we have a dedication to do well by our clients, protect their wealth and enhance it for future generations.

During the evening I welcomed our guest speaker – my father – Lord Michael Dobbs, Emmy award-winning creator of House of Cards. He has also written award-winning books on Winston Churchill.

Lord Dobbs, or Dad as I call him, provided our guests with fascinating tales of Winston’s own financial affairs, which in short were terrible.  He earned several fortunes but loved luxury more. Even when Churchill and his wife Clemmie were faced with insurmountable debt he still dressed in pink silk underwear, and Clemmie’s account at Harrod’s even in their worst year ran to more than 80 pages. Of course, his insatiable love for Cigars and Champagne is infamous.

He lived a life of financial chaos. He bought his beloved Chartwell on a whim, without telling his wife. He piled into the Dow Jones moments before the Great Crash. He gambled, and lost. And he came very close to bankruptcy. Oh, how he needed Charles Stanley!

War, or more accurately his writings about the war, made him extraordinarily wealthy. But we were almost deprived of these great volumes of memoirs. Immediately following the war income tax rose to 97½ per cent. He balked. ‘I will not write for sixpence in the Pound.’ So he went to his successor as Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, and persuaded him that his record of the war was vital and entirely in the national interest. He got special dispensation from paying income tax, and we got his historic volumes on the Second World War.

As you will see from the photographs, the evening was enjoyed by all and it was a great excuse to get together with new professionals, existing business partners, colleagues, friends and family in my case. The Cabinet War Rooms allowed my colleagues and I to reflect on how satisfying working at Charles Stanley is. A firm like ours plays an important part in our professional communities as well as in fulfilling our client’s needs. And working for a firm like ours, with its rich history, is a responsibility my former colleagues have had in the past but also that my current colleagues and I have going forward.




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